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Burley Middle School students test water in Albemarle Co.

Updated: Jun. 8, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Even though classrooms are currently empty, a sixth-grade science teacher at Burley Middle School has found a way for his students to keep learning.

Almost 30 of Michael Barber’s students are participating in a project that tests water sources around Charlottesville and Albemarle County for nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen and pH levels.

“I sent out water testing kits to all the students that were interested in doing this project, and they tested a local stream or pond or in some cases they went down to the Rivanna River and tested and sent me back the data,” Barber said.

The data these students collect is being shared with the Rivanna Conservation Alliance to be included in an interactive map that will launch in a few weeks.

This project not only allows students outside of school, but it highlights some of the problems with local water systems. Barber says that many of the streams being tested are showing high levels of nitrates and phosphates, which can be caused by excess fertilizer or animal waste.

As of now, the students have tested around 20 different streams and ponds in the area.

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